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Communication Concern

The Academic Quality Directorate at Bucks New University, run a Professional Administration in HE annual conference for their administrative staff. The 100 + attendees came from a variety of areas such as HR, Academic Administration and Finance.

In 2014 the theme for the conference was “Teams” which fitted the university’s strategic aim. Liz Bell, Principal Registrar was looking for content for the day, to deliver to the theme in a way that was appropriate to the professional service employees (PSEs).

“The difficulty I had” said Liz, “is that with the PSE coming from such diverse roles the content has to be fairly generalist. Typically we choose topics around communication & relating to others; having said that, while the content has to be all encompassing it still has to be relevant and interesting!”

Liz went on to say, “In addition to needing speakers able to provide content relevant to all, I had a fairly short timescale in which to organise the conference so I was looking for someone who would understand our needs quickly and react without a lot of fuss. I contacted Partners With You and asked them to provide an overview for:

• the opening address to set the scene,
• a workshop during the day, as well as
• a light hearted close to wrap up the day.

I had worked with Partners With You a few years ago when Sally Hindmarch had been our keynote speaker on Goal Setting and her colleague Annie Farr had closed the conference with a session on Body Language. They had been very popular and I knew they did some work on teams, so they were an obvious choice”.


As Sally explains, “our approach was to cover three aspects of Teamwork during the day without stepping on topics being covered by other workshop speakers. We asked Liz for a detailed overview of what the others were covering and then came up with our 3 sessions;

• Working in a winning team,
• How to put across your message and
• Winning Ways to Collaborate More Effectively.

It was important to us that we provided some real techniques and learning that delegates could use the very next day when they got back to the office, so we made sure that the sessions were interactive and provided a mix of theory and practical techniques. As the day progressed so our sessions became more interactive.

We created three sessions that followed an arc, from what makes a great team, to how to communicate your ideas to and about your team and finally how to work with your team.”


We asked Liz for her opinion several weeks after the conference, once she had collected all the post conference feedback.

“Firstly Partners With You delivered on brief, it was exactly what we had asked for. More importantly the feedback tells me it was the best conference that we have run, with delegates learning such a lot!

As one of the delegates put it “I really enjoyed the presentations from Partners With you. They were original and definitely something I would like to do with individual teams” and you can’t ask for more than that!”